At Full Scope Creative, we love having slideshows on the sites that we design. Slideshows can do so much for a site. They provide some action to the site. They provide a visual chance to highlight some different aspects of the business. It’s almost scary, though, how many sites we look at that are using stock photography in the slideshows.

A photo is worth a thousand words. The problem with stock photography is that the same image that is on your site could easily be on your competitor’s site as well. The image could be saying great things about you, but it could be saying those same great things about your competitor as well. If your competitors are using stock photography, this is a great way for you to gain additional credibility in the eyes of many users. Even if the photos are done in house, they capture the uniqueness that is your company. We have a couple clients who use photos that were taken on their iPhone and they work great because they show the look and feel the business.

I’m not saying to never use stock photography, sometimes it is an unavoidable necessity. When you do need to use them though, follow these simple steps if possible.

  1. Don’t use the photos from the first page. Just like on a Google search, not many people go past the first page, even though the sites on the second page still have worthy information. Not as many people will use the images from the second or third or fourth page of a stock photography site. Those images still have a decent look and feel to them, but they don’t have quite the frequency of use as the ones on the home page, thus giving you a better chance of avoiding images used by competitors
  2. Don’t do a general search for something like “family.” Instead, drill down to something a little of specific like “Family outdoors” or “Active family.” Doing this will sometimes bring up additional photos that might have been several pages deep in the initial results.
  3. Probably most importantly, take a look at top 3 competitors, if they are using stock photography as well, make sure you use different images.

Like many things, stock photos have a time and a place. A slideshow on the homepage of your site really isn’t one of them though. If you do need to use them though, make sure you spend a little extra time to find ones that might not be used quite as much as the one with 6 business people all in gray suits with their arms crossed and big beaming smiles (I believe I’ve counted six companies just in Green Bay that that particular group “works” at). Getting your own photos taken might take a little extra time and cost some money, but it will be time and money well spent.